You know writer/artist Sarah Andersen from her popular webcomic Sarah's Scribbles (opens in new tab) (which is probably all over your social media feed), but in the past few months, she's been branching out into something darker and less scribbly called Fangs (opens in new tab) on the Tapas platform.(opens in new tab)
For Fangs, Andersen traded in 'coming of age' angst for a quirky love story between a 300-year-old vampire and 20-something werewolf. This isn't Twilight though - think Shaun of the Dead, but for the supernatural romance sub-genre.
Newsarama talked with the writer/artist about the two ongoing series, the balance between the two, and what the response has been.
Newsarama: Sarah, let's start off slow - what are you working on today?
Sarah Andersen: Right now I do about one Fangs comic per day! I've been trying to keep up Scribbles semi-regularly as well. Once Fangs is done, I'll be back to full-time Scribbles and will be starting the fourth Scribbles book.
Nrama: What keeps you excited about doing Sarah's Scribbles?
Andersen: I feel like I have a special outlet where I can write about almost anything using the 'Sarah' avatar. I don't feel limited so I feel like I always have access to a voice. I don't feel like I need to stick to certain themes. That means I can share my life in ways that feel new and exciting to me, even with a character I've been writing with for almost a decade.
Nrama: Your stories often remark about how Sarah doesn't fit the typical idea of adulthood. Have you yourself figured it out more in doing this webcomic for so many years?
Andersen: Sort of, maybe not in ways people would expect.(opens in new tab)
A big part of 'adulthood' for me is realizing that I don't, and might never, fit the 'American Dream' mold of adulthood. I've slowly made peace with that and have accepted my own way of doing things. Adulthood for me has been more about navigating what works best for me as opposed to trying to fit a societal standard.
Nrama: What do you think you've learned about life from doing the webcomic and doing everything surrounding it like social media, signings, etc.?
Andersen: It's so difficult to point to one thing, but in general it taught me how much I struggle with is a shared experience.
For example, I used to write a lot about anxiety - connecting with many people about that has made me feel more normal... like my experiences are just part of human life as opposed to something I should hide.(opens in new tab)
Nrama: The title - Sarah's Scribbles - infers an unfinished aspect. How did you go about finding your style for the webcomic - and has it become more seamless to you over the years?
Andersen: It certainly started from an unfinished place. Years ago I had a blog called 'Doodle Time' where I just posted sketches and some very early comics which were just MS paint drawings. It was very amateur.
Eventually, I took down everything but the comics and that blog became the site for Sarah's Scribbles. The new title was a reference to the simplistic way it started. The process has certainly refined itself. I went from sketchbook scans and MS Paint drawings to a proper process in photoshop, with layers and everything.
Nrama: But outside of Sarah's Scribbles, you're doing the more polished-looking Fangs and even outside illustration work. I am especially rapt by the Cat Eyes piece. Could you see yourself doing more in this style?
Andersen: An earlier project, Cheshire Crossing, as well as Fangs, tries to blend this style into a comics format. It's tough to find a balance between a more vintage illustration style and some of the more stripped-down elements that are necessary for graphic novels. I studied illustration, not sequential arts, so I'm still carving my own path in this way.(opens in new tab)
Nrama: Do you have a name for your different styles of work?
Andersen: Not particularly, but the more refined style has different and more specific references - the golden age of illustration and shoujo manga for instance.
Nrama: What inspired you to create Fangs?
Andersen: I wrote Fangs in a six-month period where I wasn't writing Sarah's Scribbles because I was working on Cheshire Crossing. Since Cheshire was all illustration work and no writing, think I had all this untapped creative writing energy that needed a place to go, and something clicked.
I started with the premise of 'a vampire and a werewolf are sitting in a bar...' and at first it was very cutesy and slapstick and it evolved from there. I wrote the vampire first. I oddly related to the vampire lifestyle while I was working on that Cheshire deadline - nocturnal, anemic, particular. People often ask what "Sarah" would be like all grown up. In some ways Fangs has the answer.
Nrama: How have your readers reacted to Fangs? What have been some of your favorite reactions?(opens in new tab)
Andersen: So far it has all been very positive! I think so far I have been really excited about how much people like Jimmy, the male character. Believe it or not, this is my first time writing a man as a main character so I was pleasantly surprised at how much people liked him from the very beginning.
Nrama: What comics are you reading and enjoying these days?
Andersen: Online I read mostly short form. Cassandra Calin (opens in new tab) is a definite favorite, as well as Beckscomics (opens in new tab) and The Pigeon Gazette (opens in new tab). Hey, all women!
Nrama: And what are your goals and aspirations, comics-wise, in the near future?
Andersen: Finish Fangs, firstly!
I think I don't want to do any side projects for a few months and really build more of Sarah's Scribbles. A big dream is that I'd love to win the Reuben award one day. We'll see!